Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

Four “Healthy” Foods That Sabotage Weight Loss

Multigrain BreadIf you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to fall into the trap of all of the “healthy” products food companies are pushing these days. Extra calories can be cleverly hidden in these products, sabotaging even the most well-intentioned consumer. The best way to manage or lose weight healthily is to control portion sizes and to eat a balanced diet consisting of lots of fresh or frozen fruits and veggies, lean proteins like chicken, fish, and beans, and low fat dairy. Do your best to avoid these sneaky “health” foods at your grocery store.

Fruited or flavored yogurt
The benefits of yogurt are plenty. It’s a good source of calcium, the live active cultures in yogurt help promote a healthy and happy digestive tract and it packs a protein punch (especially Greek yogurt). But this health food angel can often be a devil in disguise. Fruited or flavored yogurts are usually low fat or fat free, but can have as much as 31 grams of sugar in one six-ounce container! That’s almost eight teaspoons of sugar in your so-called “healthy” snack. Get all the benefits of yogurt without the extra sugar by buying plain, nonfat yogurt (Greek or regular) and adding your own fresh or frozen fruit.

Enhanced waters
Staying hydrated is important to maintaining a healthy weight, but getting the recommended eight glasses a day is difficult for some. Many people fight plain-water boredom by drinking enhanced waters like Vitaminwater. These are basically sugar water and a vitamin pill. If you eat a well-balanced diet filled with fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low fat dairy, you may be getting enough nutrients from food. Do your waistline a favor and drink plain , calorie-free tap, purified, or bottled water. Check out this previous blog post for ideas on making regular water taste delicious without the extra calories.

Fast food salads
Fast food chains want you to believe you really can eat healthy at their restaurants. Many have extensive salad offerings to reel in weight conscious consumers. But beware: the dressings, toppings, and add-ons for these salads can add as much as 500 extra calories to your healthy bowl of fresh veggies. What’s more, the nutritious parts of a salad, like tomatoes and cucumbers, are often used sparingly. If you find yourself with no other choice besides fast food, your best bet is a grilled chicken sandwich — hold the mayo — paired with a side salad. Don’t forget to use the dressing sparingly!

‘Multi-grain’ products
Whole grains are an important part of a balanced diet, giving us carbohydrates for energy and several key nutrients. But don’t confuse ‘multi-grain’ with whole grain. A whole grain product will contain all parts of the grain: the germ, the bran and the endosperm. Whole grains provide essential fatty acids, fiber,and B vitamins. Unfortunately, a lot of the grains in our food supply are refined. A refined grain has the germ and the bran removed, leaving the endosperm, which is mostly nutrient-poor starch. Refined grain flour is easy to work with in cookies, cakes, and breads, which makes it a cheap and versatile ingredient for food manufactures. A food company can claim their product is ‘multi-grain’ even if all of its grains are refined. The term implies nothing about the product’s nutritional value, and it could still have the same amount of calories and fat as any other cookie, cake or cracker out there. To make the right choice, look at the ingredients list on the package label. Look for the word “whole” before the grain listed, and make sure it’s one of the first two ingredients. Better yet, avoid packaged or processed foods and choose whole grains you can see: oats, brown rice, bulgur or quinoa.

Author: Courtney Plush, MS, Emory Healthcare Dietetic Intern

Slow & Steady Wins the Weight Loss Race

Along your weight loss path, how many times have you wished for a quick fix? While there’s no magic bullet, there are simple, steady steps you can take to meet your weight loss goal.

Joe Before & After Weight LossArvinpal Singh, MD, Medical Director of the Emory Bariatric Center, along with Joe, an Emory Bariatric Center patient on his own non-surgical weight loss journey, hosted an online chat discussing strategies for long term weight loss success. Dr. Singh and Joe answered questions on what it takes to get on the path to lasting weight loss and offered inspiration to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Joe and Dr. Singh fielded lots of great questions, ranging from inquiries on nonsurgical vs. surgical weight loss to those on fat fighting foods. Having already lost 115 pounds by making smart diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, Joe shared some of his best tips for successful weight loss.

You can find a few of the weight loss chat questions and answers below. For more, check out the full weight loss chat transcript!

Question:  “Is it better to exercise for a full 30 minute interval daily or to exercise a total of 30 minutes throughout the day?” – Deborah

Dr. Singh, Emory Bariatric Center

Answer (Dr. Singh): Excellent question! BOTH are equal, 10 minute increments 3 times a day has been shown to be just as effective as 30 minutes once a day. As a rule, every step you take counts. For example, park further away, take stairs and stay active in your daily. Also, try spending some time during your lunch break walking, etc.

 

Joe, Weight Loss PatientAnswer (Joe): To add to that, the key is making sure you’re upping your activity overall and upping the number of calories you’re burning. If doing that in two 15 minute intervals works better for you, that’s great, or 30 minutes at once is good too. Even small changes make a big impact and it’s important to be aware of little steps you can take to get extra activity in. I’ll try to walk to the water fountain that’s furthest away, as an example.

Question: “I’m 55 years old, diabetic, with blood pressure off the chart. How do I lose 90 lbs fast?” – Lynn

Dr. Singh, Emory Bariatric CenterAnswer (Dr. Singh): Hi Lynn, Losing the weight quickly is not necessarily as important as losing the weight in a healthy way. Without seeing you in person, I can’t speak your personal medical situation, but in general, eating the right amounts of the proper foods and making healthy lifestyle changes are the first steps. I can certainly go into more detail after looking into your personal medical history and discussing your case in detail with you.

Diseases of our western society (including heart disease, diabetes & cancers) are not a necessarily an inevitable part of the aging process. Many of these conditions are reversible and preventable with excellent nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Joe, Weight Loss PatientAnswer (Joe): Losing a certain number of pounds isn’t as important as it is to regain your overall health. I realized many health benefits before reaching my target weight. As an example, when I began exercising regularly, I actually gained weight, but that was a good thing, as it meant I was developing new muscle tissue, improving my overall health, and getting smaller in the meantime.
 
 
Dr. Singh, Emory Bariatric CenterResponse (Dr. Singh): That’s a great point Joe, many studies show that even as little as 5-10 percent of weight loss dramatically improves a person’s overall health.
 
 
 
 


Have you seen success with your weight loss efforts? Share your best tips with us and our readers in the comments below!

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My Journey To Successful Weight Loss

Joe Before & After Weight LossFor the millions of Americans who diet, stop dieting and then promise to diet again, the constant struggle to lose weight and keep it off can be exhausting, not to mention discouraging. Fortunately, there are success stories that you can learn from to help make this time the one that leads to a successful weight loss and a healthier, happier lifestyle. Joe is one of the most successful patient stories to come out of the Emory Bariatric Center.

You can learn more about Joe’s weight loss journey in this online chat transcript. He joined  Dr. Singh, Medical Director of the Emory Bariatric Center, for an online chat where they shared weight loss tips and best practices and answered your questions live!

When I was in high school, I was a competitive swimmer. Once I got into college, I became a long distance runner, and I even ran a few marathons. I weighed 141 pounds, and was proud of the fact that my waist size and my inseam were the same (30 inches). Once I got into graduate school, I didn’t exercise as much, but I stayed in good shape. I think I weighed about 150 when I finished graduate school.

Unfortunately, when I got out into the world of work, my job involved a lot of travel and a lot of fast food meals on the go. Unfortunately, I quit exercising, and let my eating habits continue to get worse. Not long after we moved to Atlanta, my weight had ballooned to 420 pounds. My waist had grown to 66 inches!

Realizing things had gotten dangerously bad with my health, I tried all sorts of things. I tried swimming to lose weight, which worked well for a while, but without changing my diet, my weight loss slowed down and plateaued. I tried increasing the intensity of my swimming, but all that accomplished was hurting my shoulder, which ended my swimming for a long time. I tried the Atkins diet, which led to some weight loss, but the gout and kidney stones I got while on the diet let me know that a high protein, low carb diet is not a healthy long term approach. I tried walking twice a day — our dogs really liked that — but pain in my leg forced me to cut back on my walking.

The pain in my leg kept getting worse, which lead to visits to multiple doctors. I finally ended up at an orthopedist, who explained that degenerative arthritis in my hip and lower spine can cause pains in my thigh and lower leg. It turns out that the damage was caused by forcing my bones to support too much weight for far too long. He told me that there were three things I could do to help get better: lose weight, lose weight and then lose some more weight.

It occurred to me that I had been going about losing weight the wrong way all along. I realized that I had spent more than thirty years working as an IT consultant because I was really good at helping other people solve problems using computer technology. We didn’t expect people in finance, accounting and telecommunications to know their own area of expertise and also know how to use computers to solve their problems. My living depended on other people being willing to hire my special expertise in solving problems. Why not rely on people who are experts at helping people lose weight?

My wife had been telling me about the Emory medical weight loss program for years, which is the Emory Bariatric Center’s customized non-surgical weight loss and weight management program, called Your Weigh. I finally decided to check the program out, reading about it on the web, taking the online seminar about the program and decided to go for it. I spoke with my employer about re-arranging my work schedule to attend the Friday sessions, and began the program in October of 2012. When I started the program, I weighed 377.6 pounds, was developing Type 2 diabetes, had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Since being in the program, I’ve lost more than110 pounds so far with 80 more pounds to my goal weight, my A1C has gone from 6.4 to 5.4 and my total cholesterol has dropped from 258 to 176. More important than the weight I’ve lost so far — not to mention the related health improvements — I’ve gained friends, support, and the knowledge and tools to help me stay healthy for the rest of my life.

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Do You Have to Choose Between Wine & Your Waistline?

Alcohol Weight Gain

When it comes to drinking alcohol and your health, thousands of experts have weighed in. One thing that they can all agree on is that when it comes to drinking alcohol and your weight, moderation is key.

A recent article on CNN.com shed some light on the fact that alcohol not only adds hundreds of calories to your diet – a regular beer can add up to more than 150 calories while a glass of wine can cost you 100 calories – but it also temporarily halts your body’s ability to burn fat. So, while the beer you had with pizza and wings might not be a major caloric offender, your body insists on breaking down the calories from the alcohol first, leaving the calories from what you ate to get stored as fat.

So, does this mean that you must resign yourself to teetotaling? No, says Meagan Moyer, registered dietician for the Emory Bariatric Center. But you do need to follow a few rules to keep from growing a beer belly or wine waist!

  1. Keep it simple – A good rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients the better. It’s generally safer to go with a glass of wine or a beer rather than a fancy mixed drink that is loaded with sugar or salt from added juices, soda and mixers.
  2. Eat before you drink – It might sound counterintuitive if you’re trying to skimp on calories, but eating a snack or meal with healthy fat, fiber and protein can help stave off the sugar crash that often comes after a night of drinking. It also can help you feel full so that you’re not picking off of every tray being passed.
  3. Keep count – Conventional wisdom points to the one drink a night rule for women. So, does this mean you can abstain all week and then blow it out on Saturday? Not so fast. Drinking several drinks in one night will mess with your blood sugar, add hundreds of calories to your diet and decrease your judgment in making good food choices – a trifecta of disaster for your waistline.

Author: Meagan Moyer, RD/LD, Emory Bariatric Center

 

 

Nutrition Fact or Fiction? Emory Bariatric Center Dietician Sheds Light on the Most Important Meal of the Day

Nutrition Fact or FictionWhen it comes to losing weight, exercising and eating healthy, myths and misconceptions abound. And, with an overabundance of conflicting diet and weight loss information available, it’s hard to know if your breakfast routine is keeping you on target for your weight loss goals or if you’re  unknowingly derailing your path to healthy living.  Is it best to work out in the morning or at night? Can a doughnut really be better for breakfast than a muffin? Fortunately, Meagan Moyer, a registered dietician with the Emory Bariatric Center, can help distinguish diet and exercise myths from the truth to help you get your day off to a great start.

Check out Meagan playing a friendly game of nutrition fact or fiction with 11Alive’s morning news team.

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Renew Your Weight Loss Goals for 2013

Exercise Fitness Weight LossThe new year is an exciting time. As 2012 comes to the end, it is the perfect time to renew your commitment to the goals you want to achieve.  Set yourself up for success by following these tips for setting achievable goals.

Tip 1: Set SMART goals

SMART goals are:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Time-bound

Tip 2: Set a Lifetime Goal

The best goal you can set would be a lifetime goal. Why? Because it is a goal that you can always improve on, and it shapes the way all your other goals are attained. Set a goal that you want to achieve, not what others feel you should accomplish.

Tip 3: Set small goals

Setting smaller, achievable goals will help you reach your main goal by achieving  smaller milestones along the way. By setting smaller goals, you allow yourself to specialize and focus in one area at a time. It is easier to stay motivated when you are accomplishing many small goals rather than falling short on one large, unrealistic goal. Stay positive, smaller goals add up over time.

Tip 4: Reward Yourself

Once you complete a goal, take time to enjoy your accomplishments!  A reward should be something for yourself that you enjoy and deserve. It can be tangible or intangible such a buying a new shirt or going for a walk to clear your mind. These rewards will give you motivation to continue setting new attainable goals since you know there is something at the finish line.  Never reward yourself with food.

Take-Aways From Dr. Singh’s Weight Loss Web Chat

Dr. Arvinpal Singh, Emory Bariatric CenterOn Tuesday, I held a live chat on the topic of New Year’s weight loss and how you can take steps now to make sure you achieve your New Year’s weight loss goals and turn those resolutions to reality! The questions I received on in my first live chat on Tuesday were fantastic! It was great to see so much enthusiasm from our community around setting realistic and healthy weight loss goals and taking steps to achieve them. There were a few questions from the chat that we didn’t have time to answer on Tuesday, and as promised, I’ve answered them below in this post. Thanks again for joining me on Tuesday and I look forward to seeing you all at our next bariatric web chat!

Toni: Dr. Singh, what are some foods I can eat to help boost metabolism?
Dr. Singh: Great question, Toni. The best way to boost your metabolism via your diet is by starting your day with a high protein breakfast and incorporating protein into each meal. Green tea may also help improve your metabolism.

Toni: What’s the best overall way to boost metabolism?
Dr. Singh: In addition to starting the day with a high protein breakfast and incorporating protein into every meal, stay active. Incorporate resistance training into your workouts. You can try using resistance bands, for example, to increase lean body mass, or muscle.

Mark: Do you believe surgery is the answer to weight loss or taking the right steps to change our diet first?
Dr. Singh: The right answer is different for each person, and I can’t speak specifically to your situation without seeing you in-person for an appointment. In general, I do believe surgery is a necessary option for some patients. But even for those patients, the best possible results will not be achieved if proper eating, exercise and lifestyle habits aren’t adopted. At the Emory Bariatric Center, we often advise patients participate in our medically supervised diet before their surgery to begin developing these habits early on.

Mark: So, for a soda addict, would you suggest diet cola with aspartame vs. a soft drink containing high fructose corn syrup?
Dr. Singh: If you must drink soda, then yes, I would be in favor of consuming soda beverages that use a sugar substitute. Aspartame has been heavily research and deemed as safe from that research.

Jo: How much water should we drink a day? Is it half the body weight, example 140…drink 8 glasses?
Dr. Singh: In general, a nice and easy-to-remember rule of thumb is 8×8 for women (8, 8oz glasses of water per day) and 10×10 for men (10, 10oz glasses of water per day), but this is highly variable depending upon how active you are, where you live (climate, etc.), your medical conditions, your age, and various other factors.

Mark: What is your opinion on cleansing the body of harmful toxins?
Dr. Singh: My answer to this question varies based on what cleansing methods are being used. In my opinion, the best and safest way to cleanse the body is by drinking adequate amounts of water.

Carolyn: My weight stays up and dex and fatigue do not help. On chemo, can we take health food aids, such as raspberry ketosis to assist in weight loss?
Dr. Singh: I can’t speak to your personal situation without seeing you in-person, but in general, I wouldn’t recommend any dramatic weight loss program to a patient while on chemo. Any health program conducted under these circumstances should be done solely under your physician’s supervision.

Pearlie: How do you maintain weight when you are prone to a chronic illness that requires you to take large doses of prednisone?
Dr. Singh: Long-term prednisone use can result in the deterioration of bone and muscle mass. Seek the advice of your physician to get specific answers based on your condition and circumstances, but in general, in this situation, it is especially important to maintain an active lifestyle and try to incorporate resistance training in order to preserve bone integrity and muscle mass. Adequate Calcium and Vitamin D intake are essential as well.

Natarsha: How can I get rid of fat behind my thighs and flabby arms?
Dr. Singh: The million dollar question! :) It’s interesting that females typically accumulate fat in the hips/thighs and men in the abdomen. There are several changes that can be made to help reduce fat in trouble areas. Increasing protein, decreasing sugary and processed carbohydrates, and the incorporation of resistance training are all good places to start for most people. It sounds simple, but it’s really about lifestyle change. If you’d like to discuss in more detail, you can come see me for an appointment and we can discuss your situation further and get you on the right track.

Sherri: I am the proud mother of a new born baby girl. She was a miracle since she was a preemie at birth. Big thank you to the NICU staff at Emory Midtown for getting her to where she is today and happy healthy 8 pounds 4 ounces. Anyway, I now have a reason to live more than I did before however I have a MAJOR problem with weight gain. I have gained 30 pounds since her birth…this was 30 pounds from 80 that I lost…This brings me back to nearly 400 pounds. I was so proud of my weight loss… I have not changed much and still work hard at losing the weight… watching what I eat, when I eat, how it is prepared. I have PCOS and I am Hypothyroid which contribute to my weight problem. I cannot exercise much due to injuries in knees and back stemming from auto accidents but find time to walk almost everyday. I hope to start water aerobics soon as I have been told this will be low impact on my aching body parts. I don’t want to result to surgery yet as my little one is to young and I don’t want to take that risk at my current size, but I NEED to do something. What suggestions do you have?
Dr. Singh: Sherri, congrats on your miracle child! Your determination is very admirable. Water aerobics are great! I can’t give a full and fair answer to your question without seeing you in-person and knowing your complete medical history in detail. Once I have completed a detailed history and physical on a patient such as yourself, I can intelligibly discuss: dietary changes, exercise options, psychosocial issues, behavioral changes, medication options for weight loss, review current medications for ones that may be contributing to weight gain, order an appropriate lab panel, discuss surgical options, etc. If you’re interested, you’re more than welcome to make an appointment with my office by calling our nurses at 404-778-7777. Hope to see you soon!

Thanks again to those who joined me in Tuesday’s chat. If you missed it, you can check out the chat transcript here and you can also check out our Emory Bariatric Center website for more information.
See you next time!

New Year, New You – Why it’s Critical to Your Health to Lose Weight in 2013

Now that the holidays are finally behind us, it’s time to get serious about your New Year’s resolutions. With more than a third of the adult population in the United States obese, it’s no surprise that one of the top resolutions every year is to lose weight.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans resolving to lose weight in 2013, it’s important to understand that losing weight isn’t just about looking good. It’s more about getting and staying healthy – and even improving health issues that are associated with being overweight, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and joint pain.

Because losing weight truly is a journey, Arvinpal Singh, MD, Medical Director of the Emory Bariatric Center and an American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) Certified medical bariatrician, is hosting an online chat on Tuesday, January 8 at noon EST to share tips on healthful living and weight loss pearls of wisdom, as well as give his insight on different approaches to weight loss, including surgical and non-surgical options.

Get 2013 off to a healthy start and join Dr. Singh and other chat participants to share tips, ideas and get questions answered related to how you can make positive changes to last the new year and beyond.

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6 Healthy Eating Tips To Stave Off Holiday Weight Gain

Tips to Keep Holiday Weight Gain Off

As the year comes to an end, so often do the thoughts of healthy eating habits.   the thought of keeping the pounds off during the holidays.  With multiple holiday parties throughout December, it may seem hard to keep the weight off, but preparation is the key to success.

1) Have a Plan
Plan to succeed or plan to fail. Plan accordingly if you know you are going to be limited on the foods you can eat at holiday parties. Bring some healthy snacks to eat at the party or eat a light meal before going to curb your appetite. Sample the foods at the party, rather than eat a plateful of each dish. If it is a party where you bring a dish, bring something that you know you can eat and enjoy. Vegetables and low fat dip are always a good option to add color to the table.

2) Everything in Moderation
There is no need to avoid your favorite holiday foods if you eat them in moderation. Portion sizes are important in weight management and weight loss. Controlling portions allows you to eat the foods you like without depriving yourself. Take one serving of the food you want to eat and walk away from the table. It is more satisfying to eat smaller portions of a variety of foods than a big portion of one food.

3) Exercise
Keep moving to stay warm as well as burn off those holiday calories. Walking 30 minutes a day, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and doing some light weight resistance training can help keep you on track with your weight loss goals.

4) Drink Right, Feel Right
Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. Drinking water can make you feel fuller and help prevent overeating. Avoid alcoholic beverages since they add extra calories and sugar. If you do chose to drink alcoholic beverages, drink wine, light beer or spirits with no-calories mixers.

5) When in Doubt, Fruit and Veggie It Out
Include fruits and vegetables at every meal. Snack on vegetables or fruits throughout the day instead of the holidays goodies at work. Not only are fruits/veggies low in calories, they are high in antioxidants, giving you extra immunity during the cold winter months.

6) Forgive Yourself and Move On
Don’t let the thought of overindulging at Thanksgiving keep you from moving forward in your weight loss goals during the rest of the holiday season and into the new year. Take every day as a new day and a fresh opportunity to get closer to your goal.

Healthy Tips to Help You Survive Those Halloween Parties

Tips for Healthy Halloween PartiesWith Halloween only a few weeks away, we are likely to start seeing chocolate-coated candies and other sugary treats flood the shelves of our supermarkets.  Similar to other holidays, Halloween tempts us with high calorie goodies.  However, this number-one candy holiday doesn’t have to be a nutritional nightmare.  Below are tips for having a fun and healthy Halloween.

When at Halloween parties or celebrations:

  • Prior to arriving at the party eat a healthy snack or dinner.  This will cause you to be less hungry and therefore not as tempted to eat sugary sweets and candy offered at the party.
  • Be the last in line for buffet foods or appetizers.  Foods generally appear less appetizing once many people have picked through them.
  • Be mindful of what you are eating.  The average individual eats about 44% more calories than normal in a group setting.   Keep a mental checklist of what you have had while at the party.  If possible choose fruits and vegetables over high fat foods such as chips, cheeses, and fried items.
  • Drink water or a low-calorie beverage throughout the party.  This will cause you to feel fuller throughout the evening.
  • Focus on socializing rather than eating.  By drawing your focus away from food you will be less likely to mindlessly eat throughout the party.

What else? Do you have other tips to help you overcome the temptation to splurge on too much candy or party food? Let us know in the comments below!